Jack of All Trades: How to Find Greater Career Satisfaction

March 16, 2016

Career Exploration, Job Search

jackIs finding satisfying work challenging because you want to pursue many different careers? Are you concerned about having too many professional and personal interests and stressed about potentially not acting on all of them? Do you dread not using your full potential within your lifetime? If these statements describe you well, you may be a Multipassionate (aka Jack of all Trades, Multipotentialite, Scanner, Renaissance Person, Polymath, and Generalist). What exactly is a Multipassionate, what difficulties do they face and what career options might be most attractive?

Multipassionates are brilliant but typically lack a clear career identity. They often have difficulty relinquishing any of their potential career talents. The difficulty results from an inability to choose between different abilities in order to keep focused. For example, choosing among becoming an ecologist, hardware engineer, pharmacist, and archivist, titles that may use similar skills, can lead to a state of possibility paralysis. Instead of being a specialist, they crave to be a generalist in many areas or they judge themselves harshly for not being able to choose.

As a Multipassionate, you may feel flawed, lazy and/or unfocused and fear that you may never become an expert within a field. You likely feel pressured by loved ones and society overall to conform by choosing only one career path to pursue. For a true Multipassionate though, choosing one career usually feels like a life sentence with no chance of parole! Rather than sentencing yourself to a work life of boredom, consider having multiple careers at once and over a lifetime.

Recently I had the opportunity to work with a Multipassionate client. “Emily” was no longer able to stand the office management position she held. Although there was some variety, she felt she was not learning enough and kept thinking about how exciting it would be to not just sell vintage clothes online, but to have an actual storefront. She also contemplated how rewarding it would be to teach English to migrant farmworkers. I encouraged Emily to consider having multiple careers at once. At first she hesitated and began mentioning positive aspects of her current position in an effort to not let go of what is currently “comfortable enough”. After assisting Emily in increasing her confidence and realizing her options, she concluded she did not have to limit herself to one career. She happily left her position after developing a solid business plan for a vintage clothing store. She also accepted a part-time position teaching English to immigrants.

As a Multipassionate person, consider the following work possibilities:

  • Work one job three days a week and another job two. For example, you can work as a nurse half the week and with the rest of your time, provide consulting services to home health care agencies.
  • Own a marketing business and then once you set it up and hire employees, pursue a career as a historian by volunteering at a local historical society.
  • Consider taking a job that provides a good income working just part of the year, leaving the rest of the time to pursue passionate work that may not pay as much. For example, there are a variety of positions on Alaskan fishing boats that can provide a yearly salary in just 3-4 months. With the rest of the year, you can feed your creative side by being an artist.
  • Multiple on-call positions in a variety of fields may involve the type of challenges you are seeking. As a substitute teacher, you can decide whether to take the work offered each time you are called. Piece together this work with on-call counseling for a local behavioral health company as well as a position at an animal shelter.

The possibilities are endless when you consider freelance, contract, temporary, self-employment and/or short-term work. If you are having trouble narrowing down to a few, look for common themes among your interests. For example, if you love travel, consider working for a global cruise ship in a position that would allow you to see other parts of the world and in between cruises, lead independent tours.

Here are some tips to remember:

  • As soon as you feel the urge to change fields, as long as you are qualified for the work, go ahead and apply. If you find you are not yet qualified for work you wish to do, consider volunteering while completing courses or amassing enough time in the profession or role to be credible.
  • When you find yourself losing interest in something, trust the feeling and move on to your next adventure.
  • You can’t go wrong by selecting work you really love (if you can afford it at the time you fall in love with it).

Know that you can do extraordinary things. Throw your heart and soul into everything you are passionate about and give it your best effort. When you do what you love the path will always show itself.

andreaking482014Andrea Killion, MS, NCC, MCC
Careerful Counseling Services

Andrea assists clients in successfully achieving rewarding employment. She works with a diverse array of adults from all industries, backgrounds and stages. Whether you are looking for work, trying to figure out what career to pursue, or unsure whether to stay in your current position, Andrea can assist you with these issues and more.

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